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Resume Objectives Are Ineffective and Dead

Jul 16, 2008
The resume objective is dead. Objectives are either too limiting, because they're written very specifically, or they're bland and generic. When your resume should sell you why compromise your sales pitch? A Profile or a Summary, essentially the same thing, has much more impact, because properly done, it heightens the potential employer's interest.

Although they're more difficult to write, your resume is your marketing brochure. An objective fails because it's about what you want, and marketing is about what the buyer wants, not the seller. The profile describes the product - you - and gives the hiring authority an idea of why you'd be beneficial to the company.

Here's an example of an objective limiting in both title and function:

* Director of Marketing with fifteen years experience creating, developing and implementing revenue-producing marketing campaigns.

The title needs to go. Leaving the function in there is fine, if marketing is the only goal. But if you're going to be applying for a similar position, you risk shooting yourself in the foot. A company won't hire someone focused on marketing when they want a person in public relations.

When you subtract the limitations and add the benefit to the employer, you've not only changed the objective to a profile, but you've dramatically increased the chances of being invited to interview:

* Seasoned team leader with proven ability to quickly understand the needs of the market and create strategic marketing plans. Experienced in successfully defining and executing profitable nation-wide marketing strategies. Adept at consistently increasing growth and enhancing company profits while developing brand awareness and recognition.

The following objective is not only limiting, it's generic, egotistical and uses job speak:

* To obtain a challenging position with a market leader that utilizes my experience in sales, account management, and product understanding.

For a hiring authority, the whole paragraph is a turn off. Would someone admit to wanting an unchallenging position? And how does one define a market leader? What if the company is a smart, growing one like Avis and busy trying harder? It also leaves the employer thinking, "So what? What's in it for me?" An even worse objective is this:

* A position in Financial Management.

Traditionally the objective was used for very targeted job searches. But remember a resume is a marketing piece. So even in these instances the statements should imply how hiring you will have a positive impact on the company. For that reason, the following example is slightly better than the previous examples:

* Pharmaceutical sales rep with extensive background and excellent history of closing sales seeking opportunity as same to increase sales in an existing territory or develop new territory to its fullest profit potential

Even so, it can be enhanced by inserting two additional sentences and a lead-in phrase so it reads like this:

* Top producing pharmaceutical sales rep with extensive background and excellent history of closing sales. Skilled at interacting and working with people, and in understanding human behavior. Comfortable with asking questions, listening and building rapport. Seeking opportunity as same to increase sales in an existing territory or develop new territory to its fullest profit potential.

Now, not only does the paragraph tell the hiring authority how this person will be an asset to his sales team, but the lead-in phrase will catch his attention, perhaps immediately differentiating this sales rep from others applying. The added sentences provide clues as to the rep's personality and why he's a top producer. After all, not all successful sales people have identical personalities. Then put the title of the position you want above it - you can vary that with the ad.

The paragraph at the top of your resume isn't there because it's supposed to be. It's there because it's a valuable chance to entice the hiring authority into reading the remainder of your resume. If your summary doesn't whet his appetite, why would he think the rest of your resume will?
About the Author
Prior to starting Find the Perfect Job, Judi was a search consultant for 20 years in the contingency and retained markets. She now teaches job seekers how to find their perfect job through renegade methods that entail doing the opposite of the traditional methods. Understanding of the psychology of the process, coupled with increased awareness, results in the excitement of a rewarding job instead of increasing frustration and despair as months continue to pass with no results. Sign up for her free newsletter and learn how to take control of your job search: Find the Perfect Job and submit questions for the next teleseminar at Ask Find the Perfect Job
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